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Weekly Register: Wednesday, June 13, 1798 - Page 1

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   Weekly Register (Newspaper) - June 13, 1798, London, Middlesex                                No! "10VJ 1 / WEDNESDAY, June 13, 1798. '[Price Sigpende. PRESENT STATE OF RELIGION IN: EUROPE. GERMANY, from the time of Luther, has been partly Protectant and partly Popifh : in different cities and dates each Religionbeihg efta  bliflied, and in'fome both; fo that a travellet hardly knows when to confider himrelf orf Catholic, and when on Popifh ground, but by the prefence or abfenee of croifes, crucifixes, and procemons. In fome places this admixture of profeflions has produced toleration, in others perpetual animo-  fity.   In the latter cafe, however, religious'p^rin'  ciples were the leaft part of the difpute ; the out' ward ritual, the ceremony, and the name, chiefly occupying the attention of the parties. In fuch circumftances, it is no wonder that Infidelity mould be introduced and obtain a rapid < growth in both communions. By withholding feed your fields will produce no corn, but they will abound with weeds : fo where no religious principle is implanted in the heart, Infidelity will fpring ipontaneoufly. Among the Catholics, Re ligion being reduced to idle ceremonies and fabulous tales, foon funk into contempt with culti rated minds; for nothing can tend more" to bring the Gofpel into difrepute than the pretended miracles of Priefts and Friars. Among Protectants the cafe was partly fimilar; they, witnefling the delufions of the Popifh Clergy, formed the fame conclufions more ftrongly than i their own people, and laughed where the others  only doubted. But they had another caufe of Infidelity peculiarto themfelves. Af the commencement of the Reformation, Reafon was found bur ried amongthejajms of Supcrilitioh ; but as fhe was not dead, our Reformers Succeeded in reilor-ingher to liberty, and to,thofe rights, which had long been ufurped by humaiT traditions, and the Oracle at Rome :-they appointed her the handmaid of Faith", andemployediieras ah interpreter of theScriptures. Unhappily mankind are prone to extremes, and having thus refcued Reafon from difgrace and ruin, they admired, commended, and .. at length adored, the uiual progrefs-of Idolatry. ]_   To drop this allegory, when men had fuccefs-. fully employed their reafon to afcertain the ge-' . nuine parts of Scripture, and to unfold their meaning, thsy began to carry the ufe of their reasoning powers too far, and rejected everything they could not fully comprehend.   They criticifed i away the fublime truths of Chrifcianity, and retaining the name only, reduced it to a fyitem of mere morality, calling themfelves Rational Chrif-tians and Unitarians. It ,is a curious fact, that thofe very perfons . j(Welihaupt and his coadjutors), who have been branded by the Abb� Barruel and Profeflbr Robi-fon as Infidels, are acknowledged by thefe rational Chriitians as their brethren; and it is pleaded that vthcy did not reject Chritlianity, but what are called/tt peculiar tkSrines-thdX is, thofe truths which diitinguifh it from .mere theifm".   Thus hyper-. criticifm and free enquiry have opened a new path! to Infidelity.   Having let'go the grand doctrines of the Reformed Churches j they are compelled toi give up the plenary im'piration of the Scriptures, and then glide imperceptibly into Deifm, and-I will not fay how much farther. ; "The Kiftory of Jacobinifm," and "the Proofs of a Conspiracy" againft Religion, may lead us another ftep." Men are formed for fociety,; and naturally love to aflociate and communicate" their fentiments to ekch other. In arbitrary cpun-j tries Religion and Politics are dangerous iubjjects' "for converfatioh r hence the temptation "to fecret? "foejetids is greater there, than we can eafily fupppfe." The parade of 'M�fomy afforded'a cloak for theie dhcuflions, and their avowed-object fcreened them from fufpicion.-At firft, however, it is probable they would fpeak myfteries, "and the emblematic terms of the-lodges were a moftJconvenieht guife for fentiments they feared'to Siprefs more openly. By degrees they' refintfd'aViray7 the doctrines, and then the facts, of Chriftjanity {till they transformed the Chriltian Church into'a'-Mafonic Lodge-^ dreffed indeed with moral precepts and the emblems of the fraternity, but wanting the inhabiting. Divinity. �  that country.    �,   .         " The following extract of a letter recently received from Hamburgh, with which the-Editor has been favoured, will thro.w/fome light on .the prefent fubject:   .      i . :i*�:.tThere being no csunicipal laws to. reftrain the avarice of ftopkeepwyandlrajiefmeithereTtfrfe (hops are in a great m$rfure open upon Sunday^ and you may on that dajf buy almaft every article of commerce. The dayJut-with others altogether dedicated to diffipation ^d;'^mnfernent. \ Card4 balls, plays, concerts, drtnl^ng,,Tidingv&c..take up the whole. The Lutheran Religion here, is but a fecond edition of Papery, with the fame foppery of iuperrtition, the fame adherence to forms and ceremonies, and thc'jfame dereliction of principles and piety. Few itnake a profeffion of real godlineis, and fewer itill poffefs it. . Thofe who have appeared to me the moil ferious, have been fo attached to the fhcll as to neglect the kernel. " Next to the Lutherans the Calvinifts (both here and throughout Germany) are the moil numerous ; but the difFerenc: between them and the Lutherans will not, I fear, at.-the laft day, be efti-milted according to their ideas at prefent j nor is their conduct to be diilmguifhed. The reformed French have a chapeliierei as well as the Engliih of the Church of England their worihip is attended with lei's fuperfiition than the Lutherans, but their religion is intrinfically much the fame. ' " Modern philolbphy has here made.dreadful Jtrides; for almoil altperfons of education or in-1 formation openly profefs it; and fome fate writers' (Faiae efpecially) have enabled them to give art appearance" of rationality to the fentiments they1 had ignorantly adopted. ".^1 am,afraid \vhat';I have faid will, but too; juilly apply to the Continent in general,^ but^ doubtlefs with exceptions which it would, be aj pleafure to ftate, but I am unhappily not fur-: nifhed with fufBcientiriformationi'' - \ .Among the moil pleafing exceptions ar^' thef fociety of" the United^retfir�ny,:f'k)rMoravians,i. who have a flourifhing^intcreft an Herrnhut, inj Upper Lufatla. .Theiy fimple; manners-, pious,; and.nipffenfive livefi,- and great� exertions in thej propagation of Chiifti^uty, vtave pJroCured�fhem| the nigheil efteem 'among vaaous denominations} of Prpteftar fuperiiition wears away as the^''-Beq6AMf'mo%'ert^DSv^^fw:-quainted with'tharCHri^att BrethreA.7 ' Thefe excellenf^ife3p?<^.ijSld fBjedconftreiijoelat Herrnhut, (above^rnriittonibd); where ab  Minifters, Lutheran,/Cafv&il&e',' befide 'fhe Brethren,' mfeet to coitr^rfe ^h^theiheans of 'Hp-porting and "propagating vital'Chnftianiry; and there are. many hundred Minifters in Germajw,, Switzerland, Denmark, Holland, Sweden,. Norway, Ruffia, Pruffia, and Hnng^ry; m~0�Srrefpon-dence with them; andaJl nnitedui the fame objeft.- At^afle, in Stfitzerlandi a fociity of fevel-al ' thoufand members has exifbidneariy-tw^ty years, holding a religious correfpdndence wifKihe above, and with other religious focieties Ih various fdr-� : rounding countries. : Thefe are afewpf thfe^ception? to the general depravity of Qirimahs;; 'tiomywo&itt&&thi? duced, but our fimita will not admit.'- On'fact of a contrary nature muftn'ot. beiomittedi as Jt may afford a ufeful hint'tpQtfiwSi^ri^ -isi related on the authority of Dr. Hey iof^atob^jge. ^ jy^npli known that Calvinitrri ha* been'ffie.'ftandard'.bf truth at Geneva from theT'lime of ifiat^Refermlr, . though it is as little ^elievfd^^tere, as in fome other eftablifhments on' thi-fimietprkiciples.. The Minifter when he comes te the. oatk^bf aflent, makes the " claufe a^cor^pg^the^^^c^of, Calvin,''afeparate bufindsj -by.fpeakipg wwer^ altering his pbfture, or -toakmg a cpfifldei^Ke paufe before he ut'terit it. >Surtby i^'ls^t^e^- ' ordinary that a CHurch w^ere f x
                            

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